TOP Scottish stage and screen star Elaine C Smith is on the warpath after a Milngavie church pulled the plug on her favourite zumba class.
The actress, who played the formidable Mary Doll in the Rab C Nesbitt series, regularly attends dance classes at Cairns Church - but is fuming after finding out the popular sessions have been cancelled.
Minister Andrew Frater said he had no choice but to call time on the zumba class after people living nearby complained of the noise.
But a church source put the blame on “stuffy” church elders who don’t like dancing and the actress claimed that a classical orchestra performing in one of the church halls had not been ordered to pack up - just the “Latin/African/country stuff of zumba”.
She told the Herald: “I travel across the city to attend this class on a Saturday morning, it’s a joyous dance class run by the excellent Nicole and Shirley, two nicer women you could not meet, who are dedicated to lifting the spirits of the 50 men and women who dance and laugh between 11 and 12 each week.
“I assumed that a church hall would benefit from being so full of love and light. Sadly the minister has now cancelled the class after several months with little notice.”
She added that she hoped that “enlightened” elders would now intervene to “persuade the minister to think again.”
A church source said: “It’s a terrible shame, it was bringing such happiness to people. There were complaints about the noise, but there’s a stuffy element who just didn’t like this.”
However, Rev Frater said that everything possible had been done to accommodate the group - even to the extent of having extra insulation put in the roof to dampen the noise.
But, he claimed, the complaints kept coming - meaning he had no choice but to serve notice on the class.
Rev Frater said: “Since the zumba group started meeting in Cairns hall about a year ago, there have been a number of complaints on various occasions from neighbouring residents about the noise levels.
“As a church, we have tried our very best to find a solution that would be suitable to both the group and our neighbours, even going to the extent of installing extra insulation in the roof and installing new fire doors in an effort to dampen the volume.
“I have organised meetings with the zumba group leadership and with those affected in order to find a compromise. Regrettably, it eventually became apparent in July that local residents were still having to endure unacceptable levels of noise on Saturday mornings.
“Despite our best efforts to accommodate and retain the zumba group, I had in the end to serve them notice so that they could look for a more suitable venue.
“Any suggestion that I am forcing them out for any other reason is wholly inaccurate and unfair.
“At Cairns, we actively encourage community groups and clubs to use the facilities we have to offer but clearly we also have to take into account what impact this may have on our neighbours.”
Are YOU one of the zumba regulars who attended the Cairns Church classes or are you a nearby resident who felt there was too much noise coming from them? Let us know YOUR views by e-mailing the Herald at firstname.lastname@example.org